A player making an on field declaration that they want be paid more is neither new nor interesting. In Seattle, however, everything seems to be amplified a bit more.
At a sold-out Columbus Crew Stadium, Eddie Johnson slipped a header off a free kick past a sprawling Matt Lampson in the 13th minute. After scoring his 7th goal of the season, EJ jogs towards his bench, raises both hands to about pec height, rubs his fingers together as if he’s shining a pence in each hand, all while saying/ mouthing (not sure why he wasn’t mic’d) “pay me” several times. The celebration was less speculator than the goal, and would probably only be a story for a day.
Again this is Seattle, all eyes and ears have been pointed towards the Pacific Northwest since last month.
The story would not have survived Labor Day if: (a) MLS had anything new to talk about and (b) the General Manager/ part owner Adrian Hanauer and Coach Sigi Schmid didn’t publicly agreed that EJ is underpaid. It is easy for them to make this statement because the league negotiated the contract, not the Sounders. EJ was part of the mysterious ‘US National Team Members Returning to MLS allocation system’ that is instituted whenever the Don sees fit.
It is unclear the size of the raise the $150,000-per-year striker expects. Seattle current has all three of their designated players spots filled. Compared to the 12 other non-DPs with 6 to 8 goals this season, he earns less than both median ($155,741.67) and average salary ($161,371). It is doubtful EJ’s recent ruckus via Twitter and his on field theatrics are for anything less than a 10% pay bump. While not expressed, the timing does imply he expects a salary comparable to the recent payday his fellow US National Team forwards have received.
Of the four MLS forwards with US National Team caps this year, EJ is the only non-DP. It is easy now to demand a raise while he’s on a three goals in four games tear. Seattle will need to figure out how much they’re will to invest in the 29-year-old without having the open DP slot. The club also needs to assess if they can win a championship by simply trying to out score everyone. If EJ gets Kei Kamara money, comparable in ability, that will place more than $1.2 million of cap allocated funds with four attacking players.
His age, plus his inconsistency throughout his time with the National Team, England and MLS makes him an unlikely candidate for a European return.
EJ should realize this will be his last big payday. Strikers age gracefully in this league but he’s at the height of his value now, unfortunately for him it may need to pick between getting maximum value or stay in Seattle.
This Week’s Throw Ins:
Erick Torres has just given you a reason not to give away those Chivas USA tickets. The 20-year-old DP loaner from Chivas Guadalajara has six goals since arriving in MLS seven games ago. Enjoy while it lasts, it’s unlikely the mothership will allow El Cubo to robot across the MLS for too much longer.
Kei Kamara impressed someone while in England last winter. If it was not for Norwich City position in the relegation zone at the time, he may have been staying at Carrow Road. Instead he’s heading further north to Middlesbrough F.C. of the Championship. It’s a bit disappointing, Kamara looked to be of EPL quality.
LA did not lose in August. The Galaxy had a great month by capturing 10 out of 12 points. They are five points behind Real Salt Lake with two games in hand. These two teams are begining to pull away from the rest of the West.
The Tim Cahill as the off-striker and Henry off-the-bench experiment is on hold. He picked up an ankle injury that could keep him out for 3 to 4 weeks, or in Australian terms a game and a half.
About the author:
Jay’s first memory of professional soccer was watching a flaming haired pirate in a blue shirt with white stars menace a golden shirt lion on the field of roses. Since then, he has followed the game from the cradle of US soccer, Northern Jersey. Tracking the progress of the sport in the states through the international team and Major League Soccer he has become a student of tactical football, the business of sports and the cultural impact of the game. Jay enjoys the view from the ivory tower but is not afraid to be in arm’s length of the ultras in the South Ward. You can follow Jay on Twitter@rescindedred.